Plastics Technology

JUN 2013

Plastics Technology - Dedicated to improving Plastics Processing.

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PolyProPylene PrICe TrenDS may aPr Pipe may ? ? 10¢/lb ? ? 1-3¢/lb 10¢/lb 1-3¢/lb for propylene monomer, but planned and unplanned outages and a rising hedging interest in the market have propped up monomer prices a bit. Greenberg reported in early May, that spot PP trading was active, with generic prime resin prices down 0.5¢/lb, while spot offgrade prices frmed up a bit. He noted that PP processors had drawn down their inventories and were returning to the market—both contract and spot—to restock. RTI's Newell said he expected a sizeable upswing in demand from May to July. "Not only do people need to restock their inventories, but they are also likely to prebuy as PP prices hit bottom," he said. Newell noted that PP demand was off 10% in the frst quarter compared with 2012, largely as a result of PP price volatility. He expects this full year to be down, as well, but possibly only by 5%. PS PRICES DOWN Polystyrene prices dropped 3¢/lb in April, wiping out the penny that was left from the January hike. Some suppliers issued a 4¢ increase for May 1, while at least one came in with a split of 2¢ for May and 2¢ for June. After the signifcant drop in benzene prices in March, they moved up in April by 11¢/gal, which is not enough to justify even a 2¢/lb PS increase, according to PolySTyrene PrICe TrenDS GPPS aPr may ? ? ? 3¢/lb 40 june 2013 Plastics technology aPr molding HIPS may 1-2¢/lb 3¢/lb 1-2¢/lb General Purpose aPr may aPr may aPr PvC PrICe TrenDS Copolymer Homopolymer ? ? Mark Kallman, RTi's director of client services for engineering resins, PS, and PVC. He ventures that PS suppliers might be able to push through a 1-2¢/lb price hike, based on their claims that recent Ohio river fooding made it diffcult to bring benzene to their plants. However, Kallman does not see much chance of another 2¢ increase going through, as ethylene prices are easing up and benzene prices are generally expected to trend downward. While seasonal demand for PS is up, it's not suffcient enough to warrant a price increase, he said. PVC PRICES FLAT TO DOWN PVC prices were fat through April, after moving up 5¢/lb in March. Downward pressure was building for May and June, despite some suppliers' hopes to put through another hike. Contributing factors include lower ethylene monomer prices and lower export resin prices after suppliers slashed export tabs to move product. PVC exports have been at least 18% lower this year. Domestic processors are pressuring suppliers for lower resin prices in view of the signifcant differential that has emerged between export and domestic PVC pricing. Says RTi's Kallman, "Expect PVC resin prices to ease up due to lower feedstock prices and exports." Kallman further notes that if oil prices remain high, domestic PVC producers will reap the beneft of their ethylene cost advantage (based on natural gas rather than oil), setting the stage for a potential rebound in the PVC export market. By Lilli Manolis Sherman, Senior Editor

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